On Sunday, Pope Francis named a set of 21 new cardinals in the Catholic Church — and Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, is notably absent from the list, the Los Angeles Times reports. Cordileone recently targeted House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over her support of abortion rights; the archbishop announced he’d block Pelosi from receiving communion in his religious jurisdiction.
Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego — who’s stated his opposition to using communion as an essentially political tool — was, however, included in the revealed list of incoming cardinals, although he ranks below Cordileone. In May of last year, McElroy said the “Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare. This must not happen.” Now, he said he was “stunned and deeply surprised” by the choice to include him among new cardinals. In the past, McElroy has also questioned the level of focus from some interests in the Catholic Church on abortion — the “death toll from abortion is more immediate, but the long-term death toll from unchecked climate change is larger and threatens the very future of humanity,” he said in 2020.
McElroy also co-signed a statement from bishops stating in part that the signatories “take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you… Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side.” Pelosi, meanwhile, publicly spoke out against Cordileone. On MSNBC, she brought up the fact it’s abortion rights supporters — and not, for instance, death penalty supporters — who’ve recently been prominent targets of conservative Catholic leaders. “I wonder about [the] death penalty, which I am opposed to… So is the [Catholic] church, but they take no action against people who may not share their view… So, we just have to be prayerful. We have to be respectful. I come from a largely pro-life Italian-American Catholic family, so I respect people’s views about that. But I don’t respect us foisting it onto others,” Pelosi said.
After the San Francisco-area archbishop announced his block on Pelosi receiving communion, she partook of it at a Jesuit church in Washington. The state’s Cardinal Wilton Gregory has, like McElroy, been critical of pushes to essentially weaponize the availability of communion against pro-choice politicians. Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House passed a measure protecting abortion access called the Women’s Health Protection Act; that initiative has so far failed to move forward in the Senate, where Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) opposes it, meaning even getting over the chamber’s filibuster rules wouldn’t give the bill a majority.